World Ski event might be pushed to 2022



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Cortina Alpine Ski WM Image: br.de (Bayerischer Rundfunk)

The International Ski Federation (FIS) has said it will “carefully consider” a proposal put forward by the Italian Winter Sports Federation (FISI) and its Cortina 2021 Local Organising Committee (LOC) to delay next year’s Alpine World Ski Championships to 2022. There are fears the potential cancellation of the event in its current form would cost local organizers more than €30m ($32.9m).

The town of Cortina d’Ampezzo and Veneto region of Italy was one of the earliest to be left bruised and bleeding by the pandemic and the ongoing restrictions, coupled with the unprecedented financial implications for the local and national business community and the general population has led to the postponement request to March 2022.

The International Ski Federation (FIS) is the world’s highest governing body for international winter sports. Founded in Chamonix (France) on February 2, 1924, it is responsible for the Olympic disciplines of Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, Nordic combined, freestyle skiing and snowboarding.

The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2021 are scheduled for February 9-21 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

FISI and the LOC put forward their proposal at an online FIS Council meeting held recently. Coronavirus outbreak has dealt severe body blow to the two organizations which includes the cancellation of the 2020 Alpine Ski World Cup Finals which was scheduled for mid-March, the main dress rehearsal for the Championships.

Cortina’s Worlds, awarded in June 2016, are currently scheduled for February 7-21, 2021. FISI and the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) have said the cancellation of the Alpine Ski World Cup Finals has already caused considerable economic damage, plus erasing an opportunity to test all the new infrastructure and operational plans for the World Championships.

Since the LOC is a non-profit body, CONI and FISI said they have ensured liquidity, thanks to bank loans from the Istituto di Credito Sportivo for €5m and €14m, respectively. The Italian stakeholders put forth the argument that a move to 2022 would grant them the flexibility to manage any situation that arises, ranging from hosting a closed door event through to a cancellation.

FISI President Flavio Roda said, “The Italian hope is that the decision to postpone the World Championships will be taken. Sponsors and the public expect Cortina to present a World Championships of the highest level, both from an organizational and show point of view.”

“All this can be done only in maximum health security and being able to test all the new infrastructure and operational processes behind a major international event. I think that by moving forward the appointment with the World Championships it is possible to implement the best of the Italian tradition and organisational experience and launch the road to Milan – Cortina 2026,” Roda added.

Cortina will stage Alpine skiing events during the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Moving the Worlds to March 2022 would place it one month after the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and likely mean FIS would have cancel that season’s Alpine Ski World Cup Finals in Méribel and Courchevel, France.

A statement sent out by the FIS read, “Due to the multiple implications, the matter has to be carefully analyzed by all the stakeholders: The Local Organizing Committee, the Italian Winter Sports Federation (FISI), FIS and Infront Sports & Media. Consequently in agreement with FISI, the Council decided that the situation will be reviewed until July 1, 2020.”

The Council meeting also decided that the election for the hosts of the FIS World Championships in 2025 has been scheduled for October 3 in Zurich, Switzerland. Crans Montana (Switzerland), Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany) and Saalbach (Austria) are bidding to host the Alpine World Ski Championships, while Trondheim (Norway) is the only candidate to host the Nordic World Ski Championships.

The application of Krasnoyarsk for the Freestyle, Snowboard & Freeski events is subject to the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling on the eligibility of Russia to bid for major events. As a result of the withdrawal of Harrachov by the Czech Ski Association, the applications for the Ski Flying World Championship in 2024 remain open until March 1, 2021.

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